Zelenskyy Says He Is Fearful Of Second Trump Presidency

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed concern over the prospect of Donald Trump returning to the White House and said he considers the former U.S. president’s claims that he could stop Ukraine’s war with Russia in 24 hours “very dangerous.” 

In an interview with the U.K.’s Channel 4 News that aired Friday, Zelenskyy invited the former president and front runner for the Republican presidential nomination to visit Kyiv, provided Trump delivers on his promise in a way that can satisfy Ukraine. 

“Donald Trump, I invite you to Ukraine, to Kyiv,” said Zelenskyy. “If you can stop the war during 24 hours, I think it will be enough to come.” 

The Ukrainian leader expressed concern over a potential Trump presidency where Trump’s idea of a negotiated peace in Ukraine might involve Ukraine making major concessions to Russia. 

“[Trump] is going to make decisions on his own, without … I’m not even talking about Russia, but without both sides, without us,” Zelenskyy said. “If he says this publicly, that’s a little scary. I’ve seen a lot, a lot of victims, but that’s really making me a bit stressed.” 

Trump has repeatedly stated that he is well-positioned to negotiate an end to the war that has raged for almost two years, saying he has a good relationship with both Russian and Ukrainian leaders. 

Throughout his political career, Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, including after Moscow’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. 

During a campaign rally in Georgia just days after Russian tanks moved into Ukraine, Trump described Putin as a “smart” political player and expressed admiration for Russia’s swift takeover of a vast, “great piece of land” at the cost of what he suggested were relatively minor sanctions. 

Agency warns of mines

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi warned Saturday that mines had been re-planted around the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, just months after a team of international inspectors had reported the area had been cleared from mines. 

In a statement on the agency’s website, Grossi cautioned that mines in the plant’s buffer zone, between its internal and external fences, go against the agency’s safety standards. 

The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear company, Petro Kotin of Energoatom, called the alleged planting of mines as “another crime” by Russian forces that have occupied the Zaporizhzhia plant since the early weeks of the war. 

In a Telegram update Saturday, Kotin said the situation at the plant “will remain fragile and dangerous as long as the Russians remain there.” 

The IAEA has repeatedly expressed concern the war could cause a potential radiation leak from the facility, which is one of world’s 10 biggest nuclear power stations. 

The plant’s six reactors have been shut down for months, but it still needs power and qualified staff to operate crucial cooling systems and other safety features. 

Russia has been in control of the site since 2022 and is refusing to allow IAEA experts access to some areas of the plant. 

“Such access is needed to monitor nuclear safety and security,” the IAEA statement said. 

Lawmakers propose bill confiscating property

Russian lawmakers have prepared a bill allowing for the confiscation of money and property from people who spread “deliberately false information” about the country’s armed forces, a senior member of parliament said Saturday. 

Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, said the measure would also apply to those found guilty of what he described as other forms of betrayal such as “discrediting” the armed forces, calling for sanctions against Russia, or inciting extremist activity. 

“Everyone who tries to destroy Russia, who betrays it, must face deserved punishment and compensate for the damage inflicted on the country, at the cost of their own property,” Volodin wrote on Telegram. 

Wife calls for husband’s return

Meanwhile, at the election headquarters of President Vladimir Putin, the wife of a Russian soldier delivered an emotional appeal Saturday for her husband’s return from the front, a defiant gesture in a country where open criticism of the war is banned. 

“Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has issued a decree that my husband has to be there [in Ukraine.] I’m interested to know when he will issue a decree that my husband has to be home,” Maria Andreyeva said as campaign workers looked on. 

Andreyeva became involved in a heated exchange with a woman who told her that Russian soldiers in Ukraine were defending the motherland, and she should pray for them. 

“So, what’s next? The Ministry of Defense has spent its money, now we need to squeeze everything out of our guys, get the last life out of them? So that they come back to us just as stumps?” Andreyeva questioned. 

“Will they give me the stump? What will I get back? A man without legs, without arms, a sick man? Don’t you know what’s happening there?” she asked.

VOA

The VOA is the Voice of America

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